Professionalism and Managerialism: How Do Teachers and Physicians Deal with Management Measures

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 4:30 PM
Room: 414
Distributed Paper
Mara VICENTE , ISCTE-IUL, Lisbon, Portugal
The implementation of reform measures in public administration has conducted to critical changes in the functioning of services and had a great impact on several professions. Changing to a management culture, oriented by efficiency, results control and meritocracy affected professionalism. For instance, the management measures applied in the portuguese health sector, such as corporatization of hospitals, organizational decentralization and deregulation of the labor market conflicted with the interests of the medical profession, opposing to its core values (i.e. caring and altruism) and ethos code, leaving to a loss of autonomy and power in decision making related to its duties. Besides this, the attempt to implement a performance appraisal system led to resistance from physicians, saying that the model doesn´t take into account the specificities of medical profession. In the education sector, there was also specific conflicts between managers and teachers due to the application of this system. However, these two professions dealt with the same management policy in different ways. While physicians (through their main trade unions) negotiated with the government the necessary adaptations of the model and guaranteed it was not implemented before that, teachers showed a collective resistance to its implementation in schools since the beginning, and failed to get an agreement with the government.

Thus, we observe different ways of dealing with the same management measure by two different professions, and even more, we can ask if physicians hold greater bargaining power than teachers to protect the profession interests.

Despite these differences, there has been an effort of trade unions and professional associations to maintain the status and interests of the professions, resisting to NPM policies. Kindiack and Randall (2008) call it a postprofessionalization process (instead of deprofessionalization). Moreover, the management measures, although opposing to the interests of these professions, seem also to contribute to reinforce professionalism.